Gartner today published its third quarter numbers, showing overall growth in the smartphone market and a strong quarter for Apple. Mobile devices overall saw as many as 456 million sold with smartphones taking a 301 million slice of that pie, which comes out to a solid 66% (up 20% from last year). This shift in the market seems to be hurting Samsung and Nokia the most, because while the Korean giant is still leading the pack, this year smaller companies with slimmer margins seem to be taking some of its foothold.
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While the number of devices that ship with Android continues to surpass iOS by leaps and bounds, the report for this quarter shows a strong increase in iPhone sales for Apple thanks to the launch of the iPhone 6. Sales were up 26% quarter over quarter, but market share didn’t see the same growth (up .6% vs. Q3 2013). Gartner expects that during this fourth quarter Apple will see its largest quarter ever, citing the fact that both the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have seen demand exceed supply to some degree.
While still the market leader, Samsung saw a decline in market share year-over-year, selling 73 million smartphones and landing a 24.4% market share this quarter (an 8 point drop vs. Q3 2013). But the biggest problem for the Korean giant isn’t Apple as much as it seems to be the ever-encroaching Xiaomi, which saw massive growth, especially in emerging markets. While the company only sold 16 million smartphones in Q3 2014 (accounting for just 5.2% market share), this number is almost 4% more than 2013, when it sold only 3.6 million units.
As noted by Gartner:
From a regional perspective, emerging markets exhibited some of the highest growths ever recorded with Eastern Europe and the Middle East and Africa achieving the highest increase in the third quarter of 2014, with sales of smartphones growing almost 50 percent year-over-year. Among the mature markets, the U.S. achieved the highest growth, with an 18.9 percent increase in the third quarter of 2014, fostered by the launch of the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus. Western Europe saw a decline of 5.2 percent, the third consecutive decline this year.
Xiaomi saw a $56 million profit in 2013 as was reported this morning, and for the first time landed a spot in the top 5 smartphone manufacturers in today’s analysis from Gartner. Now, the company is market leader in China, where Samsung is clearly feeling the weight of that and saw what was its steepest decline of 28.6 percent.
As for the mobile operating system numbers, Android saw an increase of 1.1% over the same quarter in 2013 (holding its spot at more than 80% market share), while iOS saw a little bit more than half of 1% increase. The other three operating systems in the top five—Windows, Blackberry, and others—saw declines across the board from their already straggling numbers.